Depakote is a compound of sodium valproate and valproic acid.
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Also known as Valproate contains valproic acid, sodium valproate and divalproex sodium. This medicine`s component Valproate was first made in the year 1881 and was introduced into medical use in the year 1962. This medicine is part of the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines and is considered one of the safest and effective medicines. The average cost of this medicine is very less and is widely available. The generic form of this medicine is also available and can be purchased.

Uses of Depakote

This medicine affects the chemicals in the human body which are involved in causing seizures. It is used to treat various seizure disorders and can also be used with other seizure medicines. In some cases, patients suffering from bipolar disorder or manic depression can also be prescribed this medicine to prevent migraine headaches.

Side Effects of Depakote

Although this medicine is safe to use there can be certain side effects of this medicine. These side effects can differ from people to people. Some patients may report no to very few side effects, however in case you observe any early signs of liver or pancreas problems then stop using this medicine and get immediate medical help. Some of the early signs can be nausea, vomiting, swelling of the face, dark urine, signs of jaundice, yellowing of the skin or eyes, loss of appetite and upper stomach pain. Also if you experience any mood swings or behaviour changes, panic attacks, depression or if you feel irritated, aggressive or hyperactive then stop using this medicine and get immediate help.

Some of the common side effects of this medicine are:

  • Mild nausea
  • Headache
  • Mild dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with walking or maintaining balance while standing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Mild stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
Depakote (Valproate) 500mg tablets

Seek immediate medical help in cases of severe side effects such as

  • Allergic reactions
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Worsening seizures
  • Hives
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Signs of inflammation
  • Flu symptoms
  • Numbness
  • Chest pain
  • Worsening cough
  • Unable to breathe
  • Skin pain
  • Purple skin rash
  • Blistering
  • Peeling of skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Impulsive
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

Contraindications of Depakote

Patients who have a history of liver disease, a urea cycle disorder or a genetic mitochondrial disease, should not use this medicine. It can cause a severe liver failure, which can be fatal. Discuss the details of your medical history with the doctor who can suggest you if the medicine is safe for you or not. Also, patients suffering from HIV are at risk if they use this medicine. People may have suicidal thoughts when they use the medicine for the first time, hence the family or the caregiver should always watch out for such reactions or mood swings. Visit the doctor regularly while using this medicine. Follow all the details of the prescription while using this medicine. One should drink plenty of water while using this medicine. There can be changes in the dosage of the medicine if the fluid intake is less.

Pregnancy and Depakote

If you are using this medicine then use effective birth control. This medicine can harm an unborn baby and can be bad for both mother and the child. Seizure during pregnancy can affect both of them. It can also pass into the breastmilk and harm the baby.

Drug Uses

Depakote is prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorders and depression. It is also an effective treatment for epilepsy, the control of seizures and migraine headaches.

How Taken

Depakote is to be taken as prescribed by a doctor. It is recommended that Depakote be taken with food to avoid stomach upsets. The tablet is to be swallowed whole; do not crush or chew it. Depakote should be taken at the same time every day. Do not stop taking Depakote when you feel better. Depakote keeps the chemicals in the brain at the correct levels.

Missed Dose

If a dose is missed, it can be taken as soon as you remember, as long as it does not clash with the next scheduled dose. In this case, rather skip the missed dose. Never take a double dose.

More Information

Depakote is to be used with caution. Side-effects include dizziness, lightheadedness and blurred vision. When alcohol, or other medication is taken with Depakote, these side-effects may intensify. In the early stages of taking Depakote, refrain from driving or operating machinery in case you react badly to Depakote. If any of abovementioned side-effects persist, contact your doctor immediately. Depakote is only to be taken by the patient for whom it was prescribed. Never increase or decrease the dosage without first consulting a doctor.

Depakote (Divalproex Sodium tablet) is effective for treating various kinds of seizures. The medicine is also given for the manic phase of the bipolar disorders and for migraine. Depakote is also prescribed along with other seizure medicines.

Depakote comes in two forms - delayed release tablet and capsule. The drug acts on the chemicals that cause seizures.

Depakote has to be taken only as per your doctor's direction as the drug is known to cause severe side effects. The drug has to be swallowed whole as it has to be released slowly into the body. Care should be taken that the drug is not crushed, broken or chewed as it causes too much of the drug to be released. If you find it hard to swallow the drug, sprinkle the contents into a spoon of applesauce and swallow it. You should also drink plenty of water while using Depakote.

The whole course of the medication has to be completed for better results. Do not stop the drug in the middle of a course as it only increases the chances of the seizures to come back.

In case you miss a dose, you should have to go for it as soon as you remember it. Well, if it is almost time for your next dosage, do not go for the missed dose. You have to be careful not to mix any two doses of Depakote as it only increases the risk of side effects.

Coming to the dosage, if you suspect an overdose, it is better to consult your doctor immediately. Some of the overdose Depakote symptoms are loss of consciousness, sleepiness and weak pulse.

The drug can cause liver damage, especially if the drug is administered to children below two years old. The drug can also damage the pancreas. Well, a great concern with Depakote is that the side effects can even surface any time, even after many years of stopping the prescription.

Pregnant women and those who hope to get pregnant should only use the drug after consulting their physician. Well, breast-feeding mothers should also keep in mind to use the drug only after discussing the risks and benefits of the drug with the doctor.

The drug is also known to affect a person's mood. One can have suicidal thoughts when taking the drug. Well, if you come across any mood changes, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and agitation, contact your doctor immediately. You should have to contact your doctor immediately if you experience headache, fever, unexplained weakness, easy bruising, blood in urine, bleeding, sore throat, rashes, flu symptoms, hallucinations, drowsiness and vision problems. Some of the lesser-known side effects that come with Depakote are stomach upset, diarrhea, enlarged breasts, changes in menstrual periods and tremor.

While you are Depakote medication, avoid alcohol as it can accelerate some of the side effects. After taking Depakote, do not drive or perform any hard task unless you know how the drug reacts in your body. You should also avoid over exposure to sunlight as the drug makes your skin very sensitive to sunlight.